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California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption

AB 540 as amended by Education Code section 68130.5

Any student, other than one with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) nonimmigrant visa status (see exception below for students who have been granted T or U visa status), who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and the California State University (all public colleges and universities in California).

A student is exempt from paying nonresident tuition if the student meets all of the following four requirements:

  1. The student must have:

    • attended a combination of California high school, adult school, and California Community College for the equivalent of three years or more, or

    • attained credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school course work and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high schools in California for a total of three or more years, and

  2. The student must have:

    • graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam), or

    • completed an associate degree from a California Community College, or

    • completed the minimum requirements at a California Community College for transfer to the California State University or the University of California, and

  3. The student must register as an entering student at, or current enrollment at, an accredited institution of higher education in California, and

  4. The student must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that if the student is a non-citizen without current or valid immigration status, the student has filed an application to legalize immigration status, or will file an application as soon as the student is eligible to do so.

    • Students who are nonimmigrants who are victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes who have been granted T or U visa status, under Title 8 of the United States Code, sections 1101(a)(15)(T) or (U) are eligible for this exemption.

    • Students who are nonimmigrants, other than those with T or U visa status as noted above, [for example, those who hold F (student) visas, B (visitor) visas, etc.] are not eligible for this exemption.

    • A year’s equivalence at a California Community College is a minimum of 24 semester units of credit or 36 quarter units of credit. For noncredit courses, a year’s attendance is a minimum of 420 hours, 210 hours for a semester, and 140 hours a quarter.

    • The accumulation of credit and/or non-credit in any academic year shall be calculated in reference to a year’s equivalence. Partial completion in an academic year is allowed. (Example: 12 units of credit courses in an academic year is equal to a semester for purposes of determining eligibility.)

    • Attendance in credit courses at a California Community College towards the attendance requirements shall not exceed two years of full-time attendance.

    • The student must file an exemption request including a signed affidavit with the college that indicates the student has met all applicable conditions described above. Student information obtained in this process is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law.

    • Students eligible for this exemption who are transferring to another California public college or university must submit a new request (and documentation if required) to each college under consideration.

    • Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents. They continue to be "nonresidents".

    • The California Dream Act extends Cal Grant A and B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, the California Promise Grant (formerly known as the BOG fee waiver), Chaffee grants, and institutional financial aid to students that meet these criteria as well as the applicable criteria for eligibility for specific types of financial aid refer to Financial Aid Office web pages for additional information.

    • AB540 does not provide federal student financial aid eligibility for undocumented students. These students remain ineligible for federal financial aid.

    • Exemption is not available for persons who are absent from California and who are taking distance education classes.

Complete the AB540 Form

SB 141

Students who are U.S. citizens and who may presently reside in a foreign country will be exempt from nonresident tuition by meeting the following requirements:

  • Demonstrates a financial need for the exemption.

  • Has a parent or guardian who has been deported or was permitted to depart voluntarily under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.

  • Moved abroad as a result of the deportation or voluntary departure.

  • Lived in California immediately before moving abroad.

  • Attended a public or private secondary school in California for three or more years.

  • Upon enrollment, will be in his or her first academic year as a matriculated student in California public higher education.

  • Will be living in California and will file an affidavit with the community college stating that he or she intends to establish residency in California as soon as possible.

Documentation shall be provided by the student as required by statute as specified in Ed Code section 76140(a)(5).

Complete the AB540 Form

AB 2210 Nonresident Tuition Exemptions for Refugees with Special Immigrant Visas

Education Code section 68075.6 grants an immediate nonresident tuition fee exemption to eligible Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and refugee students who settled in California upon entering the United States. This exemption is granted for one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States.

This exemption applies to the following:

  • Iraqi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the United States Government in Iraq (Pub.L. No. 110-181, § 1244)

  • Afghan and Iraqi translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces (Pub.L. No. 109-163, § 1059)

  • Afghanistan nationals who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government or in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan (Pub.L. No. 111-8, § 602)

  • Refugee students admitted to the United States under Section 1157 of Title 8 of the United States Code.